Using Zoom for a Virtual Meeting

Suzanne-McConaghy 2

Suzanne McConaghy

This week, CWC Treasurer, Suzanne McConaghy ask the question: Can you hold a successful meeting on Zoom?

“When staying at home became the new socialising, it didn’t take Chudleigh Writers’ Circle long to decide we had to embrace the technology if the group was going to continue. Various conversations resulted in the decision to try out Zoom and committee members had a short session to see how well it might work, before a full group meeting on April 6th. Then, everyone was encouraged to download the app. Many thanks to Kate and Peter for getting us all organised.

I love the idea that I’m always ready to have a go at things but I confess to an urgent conversation with a tech-savvy member of the family beforehand and I felt a bit like the monk in this Norwegian (sub-titles provided) youtube video:  as he copes with the advent of books.

Inevitably, we started the session with a discussion about how exciting our lives had become in the past two weeks. Then, having exchanged writing-related news, we quickly got down to business. In this case, member Jackie Juno presented a short story for critique. This was where we were able to appreciate an app which permits you to have a picture of each group member on the screen in thumbnail and a larger one of the speaker. Alternatively, you simply have a full view of the speaker. It is also possible to put the text being discussed up on the screen, although I personally preferred having received it by email so I could print it off and study it in advance. Having the text on screen also meant that I could not see others in the room – or should that be ‘in the zoom?’

CWC 6th April 2020

Chudleigh Writers’ Circle first virtual meeting. (Picture: PKJ)

Zoom can be uploaded to many different devices. While I believe most people were using a laptop, I connected via my mobile phone. It works perfectly well but lack of screen space means it is less satisfactory where a large group is concerned. The meeting host is able to mute other members if things get too busy, with people commenting and reacting. Basically, you are encouraged to raise your hand if you want to speak. You are very much on show and people will pick up on facial expressions and other reactions. It is just like a real meeting – only more so.

Zoom is free to users but Jackie did tell us that having the paid version has enabled her to not only continue running her usual face-to-face writing classes online, but that she has gained new members, including from California and other places across the world. Well done, Jackie.

Can you hold a successful meeting via Zoom? Most certainly.

So this is just to let you know that Chudleigh Writers’ Circle is going strong. We’re looking forward to welcoming a new member at the next meeting and hoping to engage via Zoom with speaker Gail Aldwin on May 18th, on the subject of flash fiction.”

Suzanne McConaghy

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